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Volume Up is a story of risk-taking, creativity, and community building through the challenges of peaceful protest and the organizing of thousands. The goal of this feature-length documentary is to provide an inside view into the Peoples Revolution as demands for social justice are made.

In May 2020, video footage of a Minneapolis officer kneeling on George Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds was seen worldwide, inspiring outrage and demands for police reform across the nation and the world. Milwaukeeans took to the streets in protest immediately; local citizens and activists saw parallels to local cases, tragedies all too common in one of the United States’ most segregated cities. As daily actions took root, the fight for civil rights in Milwaukee and the surrounding area was reinvigorated — a fight that was intensified by the August police shooting of Jacob Blake just half an hour away in Kenosha. 

 

Volume Up is a story of risk, creativity, and community-building through peaceful protest, mobilizing thousands of Wisconsinites in the fight for justice and the end of police brutality. This project follows The Peoples Revolution, a Milwaukee-based grassroots organization that magnifies the voices of families who have lost loved ones to police brutality as they advocate for police reforms through direct action.

 

Filmmakers Sean Kafer and Madeleine Schweitzer have been alongside the group since the beginning. By engaging the movement’s leadership and members, the families of victims of police violence, and local elected officials involved in the movement, they seek to magnify the group’s work and message by sharing it with the Milwaukee community at large, while fostering skills in young filmmakers of color through apprenticeship. The filmmakers are developing a feature-length documentary, and also have plans for further materials, including a multi-part series and an educational platform with a curriculum designed for high schools, colleges, and beyond. 

 

To date, the daily marches in the Milwaukee area constitute the longest continuous protest for racial justice in the modern day. The Peoples Revolution has covered countless miles on foot and in car caravans, held vigils, shut down businesses, and demanded government hearings to bring attention to their cause. Actions continuously center the lives of victims and their families: the Cole (Alvin), Anderson (Jay), and Gonzales (Antonio) families, whose sons were all killed by the same Wauwatosa officer within a five-year span, most recently in February 2020; the Acevedo family, whose son (Joel) was killed in March 2020 by an off-duty MPD officer; the Smith family (Sylville, MPD, 2014); the Davis family (Christopher, Walworth County, 2016); the Lacy family (Ernest, MPD, 1981). 

 

By amplifying these names and stories, The Peoples Revolution never forgets that these lives mattered and continue to matter; they deserve justice, and their communities deserve change. Volume Up further amplifies these names and stories and the important work that our city’s organizers and citizens continue

to do to end police brutality forever.

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